Vietnam are to face Southeast Asian rivals Thailand in a heavyweight opening clash in Group G of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers next month.
The match promises to be one that generates tremendous interest in the two competing countries as well as other ASEAN regions, but only a handful of Vietnam fans will be able to witness that action at the stadium.
AFC Asian Cup 2019: Vietnam 1-0 Yemen – Nguyen Quang Hai (39′)
This has come about because of world football governing body FIFA’s rules regarding the allocation of seats for supporters of the away team during an official match as well as a change in venue made by the Football Association of Thailand (FAT).
As a result, only 2,244 travelling Vietnam fans will have the opportunity to watch their 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round opener against Thailand.
FIFA rules state that only 8 per cent of the total seats in the stadium should be allocated to the away fans. That number could have been decent had Thailand played the game at their usual home of Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok which can seat a capacity crowd of around 50,000.
However, the renovation of the stadium for the upcoming 2020 AFC U23 Championship means that Thailand will be playing their home match against Vietnam at the Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani which has a seating capacity of only 25,000.
Meanwhile, the Thailand fans will get 3,215 tickets for their away clash against Vietnam at the 40,192-seater My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on November 19.
Other ASEAN teams in Group G Malaysia and Indonesia plays at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and Gelora Bung Karno Stadium which have a capacity of 87,411 and 77,193 respectively while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are likely to play their home games at the 12,000-seater Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai and the 37,500-seater Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.